Birkenhead Utd AFC 5-1 Lynn-Avon Utd AFC (half: 1-0)
Three goals in a four-minute spell kicked Birkenhead clear of Lynn-Avon and secured the points at Shepherds Park on Saturday.
Jack Hobson-McVeigh scored his ninth goal of the season from the penalty spot after 13 minutes, providing a 1-0 halftime edge for his side.
Lynn-Avon’s Justin Eiman levelled for the visitors 10 minutes into the second half but parity did not last long as Jack Salter restored Birkenhead’s lead 60 seconds later.
The outcome was decided as Keegan Linderboom scored twice in two minutes and when Salter added his second of the day two minutes later, Lynn-Avon’s fate was sealed.
Birkenhead remain two points clear of Ellerslie with three games in hand while Lynn-Avon still occupy one of the two relegation spots with two games to go.
James Lawson and Salter were the leaders of the Birkenhead effort with Lynn Avon’s Andrew Smith and Chris Limmer their side’s best.
North Force 0-5 Ellerslie AFC (half: 0-1)
Ellerslie maintained their grip on second place with four second half goals getting the visitors across the line in Tikipunga on Saturday.
League leading scorer Will Roper scored nine minutes into the contest, giving Ellerslie a halftime advantage which was turned into a winning margin as Roper completed a hat-trick with two second half goals while substitute Zach Margison also struck twice.
Ellerslie sit two points ahead of Glenfield in third place and three points up on Takapuna (who have two games in hand) in the race for promotion to the Men’s Premier League for 2013.
Dylan Manickum and Callum Brown were Ellerslie standouts on Saturday while North Force’s Bruce Plunket and Scott Burgess lead their side’s effort.
Mt Albert-Ponsonby AFC 1-5 Glenfield Rovers (half:1-3)
After falling behind mid-way through the first half, Glenfield scored five unanswered at Anderson Park on Friday night to keep pace with the others around them in the chase for promotion.
Craig Taylor gave Mt Albert a 17th minute lead but a three-goal burst in a three-minute period after the half hour mark turned the game around.
Josh Mattock got things started for Glenfield before Paul Langford and Mokhtar Mohammadi made it 3-1 at the split.
Second half goals to Mohammadi and Cory Hitchen closed the game out and maintained Glenfield’s third place.
Mt Albert remain in seventh spot. Anthony Hagan and Hitchen stood out for Glenfield while Chris Gage and Richard Simester were Mt Albert’s strongest on show.
Takapuna AFC 1-0 Metro FC (half: 0-0)
Takapuna stayed well in the hunt for promotion with a single Jono Parker goal proving the difference between the two sides at Taharoto Park on Saturday.
After entering the game at the start of the second half, Parker struck five minutes later to push Takapuna to 36 points, one behind Glenfield and two behind Ellerslie while they also have two games in hand on both teams.
Goalkeeper Sam Hanna and Chris Chang were effective in their work for the winning team with Metro’s best being Rafi Mohammadi and Leo Berlim.
Papatoetoe AFC 2-4 Forrest Hill Milford Utd AFC (half: 1-2)
Two goals in each half were enough for Forrest Hill to take the points and stay right in the mix for promotion.
First half goals for Paul Rhodes and Alec Wilson gave the visitors a good start at Murdoch Park before Daniel Billot replied for the home side before halftime.
Stanley Onacha restored Forrest Hill’s two-goal edge after the break and Aaron Root made it 4-1 from the penalty spot. Gurjeet Singh’s 11th of the season completed the scoring.
Forrest Hill sit in fifth on 32 points but have three games in hand on both Ellerslie and Glenfield in second and third spots respectively.
Ngaruawahia Utd AFC 6-3 Albany Utd (half: 3-1)
Ngaruawahia did themselves a big favour as they seek to avoid relegation back to Division 2 with a win at Centennial Park.
Herve Kadiya struck twice as did Matt Williams with Marcelo Sosa and Jason Chewins rounding out the scorers for the home side.
Lee Robinson (2) and Jacob Martens were the Albany scorers.
Ngaruawahia move to 19 points, five clear of the relegation spots and with games in hand on all four teams sitting below them. Albany sit just above the relegation places with a two-point buffer back to Lynn-Avon.
Kadiya and Shane Lee-Jenkins were Ngaruawahia’s best with Andrew Harris and goalkeeper/captain Michael McMurtrie Albany’s sharpest.
Photo by Shane Wenzlick